A roof: not only an architectural term

 

News / Sergei Jargin

More and more apartments in the historic city of Moscow undergo major repair with a re-layout, a procedure known as Euroremont, which means that the repairs are supposed to comply with European standards. Old interiors are demolished and neighbor apartments are often damaged in the course of such repairs or after them, when newly laid engineering communications begin to leak. No wonder, because of today’s construction boom in Moscow, repairs are often performed under a time pressure by not very professional firms. Compensation mechanisms function with great difficulties in such cases. Moreover, the so-called “roofs”, paid hooligans cooperating with the firms owning the apartments, sometimes participate in the settlement of compensations.

There follows an example. A doctor practiced abroad during the 1990s and spared some money to purchase a communal apartment, where his family had occupied two rooms in the past. Later on, the prices for real estate in this area, and in fact in the whole Moscow, have greatly increased. Banks and other firms are buying apartments in the same house, perform major repairs and hire them out. Repair of the flat above the doctor’s one caused considerable damage of the latter apartment: a break through the ceiling of the bathroom, multiple cracks in the ceiling and walls in the rooms with the damage of 100-year-old stucco moldings. Written complaints to the authorities of different levels remained without result: most of them were simply not answered. By way of compensation, a repair of the bathroom was performed, but its quality was poor. At this time and somewhat later, the doctor experienced two incidents of assault and battery, first one in a mild form, at the entrance of the house; whereas during the second one, three men were beating him with their shoes, while the doctor was reclining on the floor in the staircase. Fortunately, there have been no severe complications, although visual acuity of the left eye somewhat decreased. Both cases were reported to the police (militia), who were remarkably unwilling to find the offenders, let alone the organizers. One of the offenders, residing (probably, temporarily) in the same house, was identified by the doctor. The offender presented a version, obviously fabricated by a lawyer: not he had attacked the victim, but the 50-year-old doctor had attacked him, while 2 unknown men defended him. The Justice of the Peace accepted this version as non-excluded; the identified offender appears now and then in the house encountering his former victim. Moreover, the story seems to be repeating now, 4 years after the first incident. There was an extensive leakage from the ceiling of the bathroom, because the joints between the newly laid tubes in the above apartment had become untight. The cause of the leakage was eliminated; the question of compensation was settled by a promise of whitewashing of the ceiling in the bathroom. The same evening, the doctor underwent an assault in its mild form, near the house entrance, obviously by way of warning. Other mechanisms of Moscow reconstruction were reported previously (see related articles).

Fig. 1-2. A superstructure and a new roof constructed on a house from 19th century. On the left: St. Clement church (1740-70), Baroque with Rococo elements, recently reconstructed, while the stucco and sculptured stone décor were largely replaced by new imitations.